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I just realized I've never properly introduced myself. My name is Travis Simonson. I'm an African cichlid keeper who has been corrupted by the beauty of planted tanks and am now working on the unholy marriage of these two diverse fields. Trial and error, trial and error. Things are going better than I would have guessed six months ago when I first started trying to keep plants.

When I'm not up to my armpits in my tanks I'm debugging databases (not for pleasure, trust me) or troubleshooting network installations (something I actually do take a lot of pleasure in). I live in Englewood, CO, a suburb of Denver, but hate cold weather - go figure.
 

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Hey Travis!

Thanks for the introduction. I know a lawyer in Englewood. Nice place.

We'd love to see some pics of your attempts to marry cichlids and plants. I've tried doing this in the past but found it hard to keep the cichlids from uprooting plants. Also, it was hard to find plants that woud do well in such a hard water environment required by the cichlids.

How are you finding it?
 

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He's done an incredible job with it. His tank is incredibly beautiful, really broke new ground I'd say.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks PG, Art. There's a thread with a bunch of pictures of my 125G tank here:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3421&sid=850b8799699185ed26236b43b8bd6a67

I really haven't had nearly the problems with the plants not tolerating the hard water (14 KH). I use CO2 to drop the pH to around 7.2 and the mbuna don't mind at all, still bright and colorful, breeding like rabbits. Things seem to be working fantastically at the moment, but I've still got my fingers crossed :)
 

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Travis,

I've been looking at your tank for some time now and wondering "How does he do it?"

My only concern really is the fish damaging the plants, not the plants disliking the water chemistry. Don't your fish tear the plants just for the fun of it?

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Niko - I don't have any problems with the fish damaging the plants. If anything, the Florida Flag Fish I've got do more damage to my grass plants by nibbling the shoots than anything else. I have run into problems with certain plants: Vals, Java moss, H. polysperma, H. difformis, E. acicularis. They will eat those, but they don't seem to have any sort of malicious streak in them when it comes to the other plants. I keep Ps. demasoni, L. caeruleus, Ps. elongatus, and L. fuelleborni. The demasoni and feulleborni are amazingly gentle with plants and don't dig at all. The labs and the elongatus can be a bit rough, but as long as it tastes bad or doesn't have algae growing on it, they leave it alone. I think the whole 'Africans will destroy your plants' thing really relates a lot more to the larger African species (although the Ps. elongatus can get fairly large and rumors of aggression abound, mine are very peaceful, and they're even wild-caught!) that have a knack for rearranging the landscape to suit them. Once the carpet in my tank grew in, it sort of locked the substrate down and the fish don't dig at it any more. I've got a 'sandbox' behind the stump in the middle where they like to dig and a few other areas, but they're not really visible. I would have to say Africans with plants is entirely 'doable' and would encourage more people to try it. The colors are great :)
 

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Hello, Travis... Nice to see you as a member of APC :D

This guy will amaze you with his beautiful tanks, he's a natural!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys! Hi trenac, good to see a friendly face :) APC is quickly becoming my favorite site. So much to read.
 

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hi travis i am new to plants and to APC very nice 125 i have one that is sitting dry right i hope make it into something as nice as yours i hope
 
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